Sound — 8
"Intrinsic" is the sophomore effort from the Indiana group The Contortionist. Made up of vocalist/keyboardist Jonathan Carpenter, guitarists Roby Baca and Cameron Maynard, bassist Chris Tilley, and drummer Joey Baca, you get The Contortionist. The Contortionist made their LP debut with the record "Exolpanet" back in 2010. "Exoplanet" is still one of my favorite records and as they announced they were working on a new record I was immediately excited to see where the band would be headed on this release. So did "Intrinsic" top their debut album? Keep on reading. "Intrinsic" is a weird record. It is musically better than it's predecessor and right now I really like the album. The one fatal flaw to this record is the production. I bought the CD and was saddened to find tons of clipping. I cranked it up on my headphones and right out the gate there was the annoying pops and cracks of clipping. When I listened through my Rokit 5 monitors I got the same result. On a good day I won't notice the clipping. On a day when I am concentrating on the music it will pop up quite a bit. It's not on just one track either. The clipping is consistent throughout the record. Don't let the issue of shoddy production sway you away from purchasing this album though. "Intrinsic" is as good as "Exoplanet" was. It retains a lot of the same elements that made "Exoplanet" one of the best records. The slow atmospheric parts are still there. The technical rhythms and the phenomenal bass work. "Intrinsic" is heavy as hell too. The one place where "Intrinsic" really stands out is the bass work. Christopher Tilley is not the kind of bassist that sits back and plays along with the guitars the whole time. Key examples of his work are the ending sludge section of the intro track "Holomovement" right into the bass intro for the next track "Feedback Loop". The outro to "Anatomy Anomalies" is also a spot where bass gets to shine. I will retain that this is musically better than "Exoplanet", but it does fall a little flat upon the first few listens. "Exoplanet" had a vibe to it. Almost like the feeling of being on an adventure. Intrinsic does not have that vibe at all. I would say on the first few listens, Intrinsic would seem like a random assembly of songs. A random assembly of very good songs.
Lyrics — 8
Jonathan Carpenter is a beast on vocals. His screams are the driving force of the heavier sections of this record and his singing is like the icing on the cake. He is a bit monotone on "Intrinsic", but he is still one of the key driving points of The Contortionist.
Overall Impression — 8
As the second LP to come from The Contortionist I am really happy with what "Intrinsic" delivered. If I have to knock of some points because of crap production value then so be it. "Intrinsic" is still shaping up to be one of the better releases of the year. Buy this album and support this band.